Honourable and personal residential letting experts

It is clear the coronavirus pandemic has had a wide impact across the whole economy, with all businesses and individuals experiencing some loss, cost or inconvenience. We have continued to do what we can to help you minimise any adverse impact on you and your home.

Our team are set up to work from home so, provided they are healthy, we can do what we can to help you, whether as part of renting your property, or just getting through the extraordinary situation we’re in!

Whilst the extra Covid restrictions were lifted on 19 July we have decided to continue with the following safety measures, in order to protect our team and anyone we work with. Therefore:

  • We will continue with our processes that minimise physical meetings and physical contact, as they protect everyone.
  • We will only meet people by appointment, including in the office. Where possible we will minimise long meetings.
  • When meeting people indoors, e.g. in a property, we will require everyone to wear facemasks, unless it is their home, or they can show they are exempt. This is because when our staff wear a facemask they will be protecting the people they see, more than they will be protecting themselves. We simply require the same courtesy back from our visitors, so our staff are safe at work.
  • Our teams will continue to work primarily from home, to minimise the chance of an infection or need to isolate, that may impact on our service levels. Our experience so far shows home working has not had an adverse impact on service levels, other than we know transferring calls can be difficult. We therefore usually just arrange a call back.  We are sorry for any minor delay this may cause.

 

We thought it may be helpful to update you to address some key questions you may have.

What if I can't pay my rent?

This is the obvious big question, as a wide range of businesses have been affected, which may mean your earnings could be affected. We hope that does not happen to you, but if it does it is important to let us know as soon as possible.

You will obviously need to explore the various government support schemes and show you have done that, so we can explain to your landlord what steps you are taking to meet your obligations. If you can’t pay your whole rent, we will ask what you can pay.

Please remember that if there is more than one of you on the tenancy, then all named people are legally liable for the tenancy, so you need to work together to pay the rent where you can. The key is getting in touch as soon as possible, so everyone is aware early.

Can I get a rent reduction or rent payment holiday?

Maybe!

For you to have a rent reduction or rent payment holiday your landlord needs to agree to receive less rent from you. Whilst some landlords may be able to afford this, most landlords rely upon rent as a major source of their income. In other words, they maybe as dependent on the rent as you are on your income, which is why it is important to have explored all other means of paying your rent, including support from the Government first.

That said many landlords have been receptive to applications for some form of rent reduction, or rent payment delay, for a short period. Understandably they would want to know as much as possible about the changes to your circumstances, along with any documentation or calculations you have. This will help them understand your situation and assess how they can help. Where such arrangements have been agreed the tenants normally repay any unpaid rent over time. If your landlord has any rent protection insurance or the chance of a mortgage payment holiday, this information may help them cover any reduction in rent.

Please be aware any rent protection insurance is usually conditional upon the insurer evicting any tenant, which may not be in your best interests.

 

Will my landlord evict me if I can’t pay rent?

Under normal circumstances, that may happen. However many landlords we have spoken to understand this is an extraordinary situation and want to work to help everyone through this, so things can get back to normal as soon as possible.

That said your landlord has the right to end the tenancy, wiht notice posisbly being up to four months. For clarity the formal position is the rent will still be due, even during notice. You will be obliged to take what steps you can to pay the rent or reduce the impact. This should include exploring leaving the tenancy to find somewhere cheaper to live. As Tenants can end a tenancy within two months, unless the tenancy is still in a fixed term, you should discuss this with us if you are in this situation.

 

Will I be charged fees if I can’t pay my rent?

No! The law prevents any fees. In theory you can be charged interest on any debt at 3% above Bank of England base rate a year. On £1,000 rent that would be less than £1 a week – obviously not significant!

During this our focus is going to be helping people get back to their normal payment patterns as soon as possible, not on making charges.

If I can’t pay rent will this affect any future reference for me?

If you previously had a good payment record and you have only had a difficulty during this crisis, plus you have kept us fully up to date with any issues, we do not believe there is any reason to give a poor reference regarding your payment history. This is an exceptional situation and we are treating it as such.

As my landlord can get a mortgage holiday, does that mean I do not have to pay rent?

Sadly no!

The Government extended ‘mortgage holidays’ to buy to let mortgages as a precaution in case tenants lose their income and can’t pay their rent. The legal obligation to pay your rent remains, as does the landlords’ obligation to meet any mortgage payments. The ‘holiday’ effectively just delays the mortgage payment. It also affects landlords credit score, so is not something they are keen to do.

What if I need repairs at my home?

These will be completed as normal subject to you and our contractors agreeing COVID safe access arrangements, and confirming you are not in isolation, infected or showing symptoms.

If you need some help please visit our repairs self help pages – you may find you can fix things yourself. If not, give us a call, we may be able to get someone to help you remotely.

We are trying to complete routine property visits, again by agreement to ensure you are content for our staff to come into your home.

What if I want to end my tenancy?

Your legal right to serve notice to end your tenancy should not be affected.

If you want to discuss ending your tenancy, or withdrawing your notice to leave, then please contact [email protected]

If you have any thoughts or concerns about the items on this page or other questions we have not covered, then please get in touch on [email protected]

or call us on

01480 494939